8/31/12

RNC leftovers

Like a fading movie star who keeps on getting plastic surgery, and hanging out in front of famous restaurants, offering to autograph menus ...

Sarah Palin: 'Sorry' Fox News canceled my appearances

It's time for Sarah to get on the bus and go on home.


And then we have ... the Paulians, who have 'erupted in fury' over the 'death of the Republican party':

Ron Paul supporters walk out of GOP convention

While the Republicans do indeed seem intent on killing off the party ... there is certainly no need to 'erupt in fury' over it. There's nothing to be done about it. Part of the evolution of politics, is all it is. Like those droves of stegosauruses in Cambodia, you see. The ones that Allen Quist sees lurking about in dirty bookstores.

8/29/12

The accidental feminist

Rachel Held Evans has a good post up on her blog:

"Confessions of an accidental feminist"

an excerpt:

It wasn’t a formal feminist education that introduced me to the corrosive effects of patriarchy. It was crying with HIV-infected widows in India and listening to the stories of abandoned wives and mothers in Bolivia. It was knowing that my friend Jackie had to get a body guard for the first Sunday in which she preached at her church. It was receiving desperate emails from women whose husbands and pastors told them that submitting to abuse was part of their God-ordained role and who had nowhere else to turn because their church would shame them if they stepped forward and reported the abuse.  It was marriages that struggled to function as hierarchies, when both husband and wife longed for a partnership.  It was being told that “vagina” was the same as a swear word, so I best not use it in my book. It was being told by people in the Christian publishing industry that I shouldn’t be writing a book about womanhood anyway because I’m not a mother.  It was mega-church pastors who said that what the world really needs now is a more “masculine Christianity.”

"Get out of my White House ..."

So ... will Clint Eastwood be the 'mystery speaker' at the GOP convention?

From Gran Torino: "Get out of my White House ..."

From Heartbreak Ridge: "Just because you're the president, Barry, doesn't mean we're going to take long, warm showers together in the wee hours of the night ...".

From Dirty Harry: "Well, Barry ... are yuh feelin' lucky? Are yuh?"

From The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: "Fifteen trillion dollars is a lot of money ...".

From The Outlaw Josey Wales: "Are you gonna pull those votin' machine handles or whistle Dixie?"

From The Outlaw Josey Wales: "Y'all might as well ride along with us; Hell, everybody else is. Sorry, Barry ...".

From Magnum Force: "A man's gotta know his limitations, Barry ...".

And there is sooooo much more ...



8/28/12

It's the economy, you dolt

Rick Santorum exemplifies what is wrong with the Republican Party, with more of his religious fundamentalist horsecrap:

Republicans shouldn't shy away from abortion issue

an excerpt:

“People say we can’t win if we say those things,” the former Pennsylvania senator told the Ohio delegation this morning at its daily breakfast session. “We can’t win unless we say those things.”
 
That, from the fellow who said those things, and lost.

and then:

Still, he said many Americans’ financial problem “is not an economic opportunity problem as much as it is a family breakdown problem.”

Politicians are afraid to say that, not wanting to appear judgmental.

“The bottom line is we have a cultural tsunami happening,” Santorum said. “As much as we like to talk about the economy and jobs, we’re fracturing at the foundation.”

And he cited what he said was an issue even more important than the economy.

“This election is about something bigger than that,” Santorum said. “It’s about an assault on religious liberty.”


No, Rickie ... it isn't. It's about the economy, but the more the Republican Party tries to stick its collective nose into America's bedrooms, personal medical decisions, and other business which is no purview of any political party, the less of a political option the Republican Party becomes.

Are we going to be treated to an entire week of the Republicans shooting themselves in both feet, while sticking both feet in that collective mouth? Are we really?

8/27/12

Death of a honey bee


This drama was taking place in front of the city building this morning, shortly before 8. The spider is -- at least so far as we know - some type of orb weaver.

From one of the spider discussion forums:

"Put a medium-sized insect in the web of a large orbweaving spider in the garden. You will see the spider bite the prey, wrap it in silk, wait for it to die, then begin to eat. As a first step in eating, the spider will literally vomit digestive fluid over the prey. Then the prey is chewed with the "jaws" (chelicerae), and the fluid is sucked back into the mouth together with some liquefied "meat" from the prey. The spider repeats this process as often as necessary to digest, and ingest, all but the inedible hard parts. What is discarded afterwards is a small ball of residue."


8/22/12

Indifferent ...


And in the meanwhile, there are some in this world who are completely indifferent to the foolishness around them ... such as this honeybee, busy at the sage by the front door, stocking up for the winter.

8/21/12

General Dempsey misses the boat

General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says he is 'disappointed' that former military members are mounting a campaign against Obama.

“If someone uses the uniform, whatever uniform, for partisan politics, I am disappointed because I think it does erode that bond of trust we have with the American people,” Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said in an interview with Fox News while flying back from a trip to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Perhaps the general has not noticed, but using the uniform and wrapping oneself in the flag is common practice with politicians, and has been for some time. It gets the vet vote. While I agree completely with the general when he says the military must remain apolitical, the people campaigning against Obama are not active duty military.

“That’s how we remain our bond of trust with the American people,” Dempsey said. “People don’t want us to be another special interest group. They don’t want that. In fact I think it confuses them.”
 
I'm not sure of the 'confuses' part of that statement, but I think he is right on the money with the rest of it. But we are not talking about active duty military.  

But Scott Taylor, one of the former Navy SEALs behind the campaign, responded to Dempsey's comments in an interview Tuesday night with Fox News' Greta van Susteren, saying that they consciously excluded active-duty military because of restrictions on such political activity. This group, however, intends to speak out.

"We have our First Amendment rights," Taylor said. "We fought for them, and we're going to continue to do so."

And that too, is right on the money.

The general says:

“Is their criticism valid? I won’t comment on that,” Dempsey said onboard a C17 military aircraft en route back from the Middle East. “Is it useful? No, it’s not useful. It’s not useful to me.”

The general's going to have to get over that.

Using those stars and the position of chairman of the Joint Chiefs to gag, or threaten, or intimidate citizens is some seriously bad stuff, and is likely to blow up in the administration's faces. I wonder if the general is going to have that "Ooops, I think I just screwed the pooch!" look on his face when/if Obama tosses him under the bus with all the rest?

Ryan's Run


Ryan's a Catlick. 'They' are taking shots at him not because he is a right-wing fundie whackjob, but because he is a penny-pinching scrooge whose fiscal views are out of step with the One True Church's ideas about 'social justice.'

Paul Ryan's religion problem

Ryan's rather extreme social re-ordering in his budget proposals, generally working against the poor for whom Catholics proclaim a preferential option, turns out to be traceable to the Congressman's affinity for a philosophy so starkly at odds with Catholic belief that the person Ryan proclaimed to have premised his life and governing philosophy upon -- Ayn Rand -- refers to the poor as "parasites" and "moochers." This, of course, is not in the Congressman's more polite demeanor, but his ideological pledge as recently as 2005 is squarely more in keeping with Rand rather than Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI).

 Pope Benedict and the One True Church have been roundly criticized for their collective condemnation of 'liberation theology', which forms a substantial chunk of 'social justice' thinking, particularly with regard to governments and their relationship to 'the people.' There are those who disagree, who write that Benedict and the One True Church have uttered no such blanket condemnation:

Pope Benedict on liberation theology

The fact is, the Catholics have long been a 'social justice' church, as have many others. There is, however, a split - or at least a significant dispute - between many American Catholics and the Vatican over the treatment of those who are actually doing the Good Works of social justice. The main proponents of that 'social justice' are not the higher ups of the church, but the nuns and other little papist heathens that the church tends to kick to the curb. This is important, since the nuns vote, and Benedict doesn't. Not here, anyway. Ryan's views are at odds with the works being accomplished by many of the nuns as they pursue their missions. Here's a fairly simplistic Pew thing on that:

Paul Ryan

I don't understand the Tea Party's infatuation with Ayn Rand, nor Ryan's. She was a bitch with a complete 'screw you' and 'what's in it for me' attitude. While her stories are pretty good - I prefer "We the Living" to the others - and have a certain attraction, most of the Tea Partiers and right-wingers I know are hardly on a par with Reardon and the rest of the innovative geniuses therein. They're party hacks, and if you scratch 'em, you'll find a religious fundamentalist union hack mindset, just in disguise. While many Tea Partiers and other 'conservatives' are advocates of the 'this is a Christian nation!' mantra, Rand was an avowed atheist. What she did have in common with 'conservatives' is her view that the poor and the disenfranchised at best  potential labor pools, and at worst  leeches upon the economy.

Is that how Paul Ryan sees We the People?

The Christian Right is in a laughable state of hypocrisy at the moment. Their political darlings are both heretics, by the standards of Christian evangelicals. On the one hand there's the holy-underwear-wearing Mormon blasphemer and his 'phony bible' -- just Google 'Christian view on Mormons' and look at what returns -- while on the other  hand there's the statue-worshipping, Jesus-eatin' papist heretic Paul Ryan.

Meanwhile, Huckabee, the gun-slingin' Baptist preacher who thinks holding Americans at gunpoint in order to listen to the sewage pumped out of David Barton's mouth is the way to go, is running around with a political boner a yard long. And Sarah Palin, even shriller than usual, is almost foaming at the mouth in excitement.Todd Akin has stuck his foot so far down his throat that you can see his toes wiggling out his backside; he seems to believe that women have a 'natural defense' that prevents them from becoming pregnant when they are 'legitimately raped.' From that, one can only deduce that if a woman becomes pregnant as the result of being 'raped', she really wasn't; she must have been asking for it. So that takes the 'abortion in the case of rape' discussion to a whole new level, don't you think? Michele Bachman continues to make the Christian faith sound like a collection of whackjobs with more in common with the Taliban than '... I give you a new commandment ...' (a commandment which Ryan's hero Ayn Rand found ridiculous); and Allen Quist seems convinced that stegosauruses hung out in droves in the temple at Angkor Wat - kind of like Egyptian cats, one might think. Of course, you would have to chase Quist down as he lurks about in porn shops to get his opinion first hand.

It's really quite pathetic. This is the best the Republican Party can come up with? This is what we have to look forward to, if and when they manage to scrape together enough votes to take the Oval Office?


8/17/12

Hondas

We were sitting at our favorite table in the Holy Land Quickee's. I was sipping, in genteel fashion, a diet Dr. Pepper. Leece was woofing down a breakfast burrito. Tookie was popping chocolate-covered 'spresso beans.

DinkyDau Billy wandered in. He took his cycling helmet off, revealing the stubble that had once been a headful of dreadlocks that Bob Marley would have envied. Billy put on his aluminum foil Stetson, the 'Wes McKinley' model, and adjusted it for optimum blocking of government spy-waves.

He saw us eyeing the Stetson.

"You can't be too careful these days," he muttered, "the gummint's everywhere!"

"Well," opined Tookie, "the leftie socialists might be everywhere, but nobody trashes the Constitution like a good right-winger. The commie pinkos could take a few lessons from the 'Christian' Right, don't you think?"

"Yeah. Yeah," Billy responded, "all them socialists wanna do is take the munny from the blood-suckin' capitalists, and give it to people like me. Ain't nuthin' wrong with that, is there?"

We sort of stared at him.

"Unca Billy, you make it sound like you're a leech on society, snuffling at the public trough. I think maybe your disability checks are more like an 'accolade from a grateful nation'. That's my story, and I'm a-stickin' to it," TootSweet said.

"Well. Well, maybe a form of 'deferred compensation'?" Billy clarified.

"Well ... at least the socialists, and the Great Socialist, aren't threatening to hold us at gunpoint and shove their version of history and the Constitution down our throats, like the far right is," shared Leece.

"Yeah. Yeah. And they ain't gonna force their version a God down those throats, either," Billy agreed, "cuz as we all know, they's a bunch a Godless pinkos!"

"Steady, Billy," Leece kind of warned, "I know a lot of Democrats that are Christians, real ones, or at least, like the rest of us, trying to be real ones. Sometimes I think that's the best we can do."

"A course, all them Democrats what are Christians are, like, you know, Evangelical Lutherans or Church of Christers or ... or ... Episcopalians," Billy deadpanned.

"Hey! Hey! Didja know that Jesus drove a Honda?" Billy asked, changing the subject in his usual abrupt manner.

"What?" Tookie was nonplussed by this news. She sort of choked a bit on a 'spresso bean, causing Leece to reach over and pound her on the back. The bean popped out onto the table.

"Thanks, Cita! You saved my life!" Tookie exclaimed, in effusive gratitude. She picked up the bean, inspected it for excessive biological refuse, and popped it into her mouth for recycling.

"Yeah! Yeah! I gots irrefutable scripcherul proof, too!" Billy went on, unfazed by the drama that had unfolded before him.

"You do?" Where?" asked Leece.

"It's in the Gospel of John, chapter 12, and it's hard to get it at first, cuz he didn't talk hardly at all about it," Billy replied.

Tookie dug out her Nook, and opened up her NRSV to John 12.

"Hit me with it, Unca Billy," she ordered.

"OK. 'For I did not speak of my own Accord ...'," he recited, from memory. Billy has memorized the entire New Testament, in the KJV, the NIV, and the NRSV.

We stared at him some more. We seem to do a lot of that. I sipped my diet Dr. Pepper, while eyeballing Billy over the rim of the cup. Tookie popped another bean, her eyes in an exasperated squint. Leece went back to snuffling her breakfast burrito.

8/16/12

"Niggerization?"

MSNBC has just lowered the MainStream Media bar by a considerable amount with this one:

MSNBC's  TourĂ©: Romney engaging in the 'niggerization' of Obama

You gotta read the whole thing.

Touré is an interesting piece of work. He sees 'racism' everywhere.

"American" values? Or ... why I could vote for Obama

David Barton, pseudo-historian - and, I would go so far as to say 'pseudo-Christian' - recently had his latest book full of pseudo-history nonsense published by Thomas Nelson Publishing. Thomas Nelson has published a lot of Barton's garbage, but apparently this one turned out to be too much even for them. 

Barton is the darling of the likes of Glen Beck, Todd Starnes, and a host of other far out on the right fringes. They are all red-blooded American 'patriots' ... all of whom claim to be steeped in the Blood of the Lamb, good Christians all. Patriots who claim to stand for 'American values.'

'Patriots' like ... Mike Huckabee, another darling of the far right fringe.

Mr. Huckabee has an interesting concept of 'American values.'

Check this video, wherein he is introduced by Barton:



Did you catch that?

In case you didn't, here it is again:

 "I almost wish that there would be like a simultaneous telecast," Huckabee said at a conference last year, "and all Americans will be forced, forced — at gunpoint, no less — to listen to every David Barton message. And I think our country will be better for it."

Tell me where in there we can find anything even vaguely resembling 'American values.'

Tell me how that statement jives with the Constitution of these United States.

Tell me how that statement fits in with the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of lives in defense of the Constitution and this nation.

I can tell you that I did not serve more than twenty years in the armed forces of these United States to allow people like Huckabee to force Americans, at gunpoint, to listen to their perverted ideas about American values and 'Christianity.'

It's one thing for Huckabee to say that. Hey, it's a free country; if he believes that, then let him speak. And if people want to listen to that pathetic drivel, then what the hey ... why not. But before I would vote for Mike Huckabee for anything, I'd sooner vote for Barack H. Obama. Maybe even Nancy Pelosi.

What exactly does Huckabee think would happen if he and his minions ever tried to use force of arms to extort obedience from We the People? And does he really think that God will accept a confession of faith forced at the muzzle of a gun? Or an oath of allegiance pledged under the same duress?  Is there any difference between Huckabee, Barton, and the mullahs of Iran, who wish to force belief upon We the Infidels?

I am reminded of that statement often attributed to Sinclair Lewis: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.'

Huckabee is a perfect example of this thinking.

The greatest threat to America these days is arguably not Muslim extremism. The greatest threat to America is arguably the likes of Barton, Huckabee, Beck, Starnes, and those who would present this warped reasoning and thinking as "Americanism." We could also argue that the far left agenda of Obama and his supporters is a threat ... but I do not believe it to be as great a threat as the far right. So, given a choice between the likes of Huckabee and the likes of Obama, I would have to go with Obama.

Historical footnote:

Origins of the quote.

8/10/12

The 'guns' of Navarrette

Ruben Navarrette has written a good opinion piece about Leo Manzano:

US Olympic athlete, Mexican flag?

Manzano won the silver in the 1500 meter run.

When he accepted his medal, he had the usual US flag with him. And then ... he brought out a Mexican flag.

Navarrette's commentary, among other points:

It wasn't unlike the choice your parents made when they chose the United States over Mexico a quarter century ago. They voted with their feet. It would be nice if you haven't left your heart behind.

This country took you in during your hour of need.

Now in your moment of glory, which country deserves your respect -- the one that offered nothing to your parents and forced them to leave or the one that took you all in and gave you the opportunity to live out your dreams?

Indeed.

8/9/12

Soptic, Michelle Obama, and 150 jobs

By now you have to be aware of the dustup over the Soptic campaign ad being run by Obmanian super-PAC Priorities USA.

Not only does the most cursory fact checking blow holes in Soptic's tale of woe, but the Obamanian campaignsters are hanging themselves out to dry with their denials:

Four Pinochios


But if we follow Soptic's logic, and the logic not only of super-PAC Priorities USA but also the Obama campaign ... then we have to give this one some credence as well:

Crain's Chicago Business: Off Message 

wherein Treehouse Foods and the La Junta pickle plant closing are discussed:

Amid all that optioning, TreeHouse did something else in 2005: On Nov. 26, it announced plans to close its La Junta, Colo., pickle plant, a move that claimed the jobs of 153 workers, most of them Hispanic — a big blow to a rural town with only 9,500 residents. The jobs paid a starting wage of $11 an hour, good pay for the area. The company blamed slowing pickle sales. But the locals are still furious.

"Prior to the closing, they told us this plant was as efficient as any, that they had hardworking and loyal employees," says La Junta Mayor Don Rizzuto. The firm even spent money on an expansion a few years earlier, and the town paid for needed roadwork. Adds the mayor: "In Chicago, 150 jobs is a pebble on the beach. In La Junta, it's a slice of the beach."

and

Meanwhile, Mayor Rizzuto has an offer: He'll pay the airfare for either Mr. or Ms. Obama to come and "look at the people and the town they're affecting." He adds, "If she and her husband are the champion of the little guy, it's amazing what they're doing."

Michelle Obama, you may recall, sat on the board of directors of TreeHouse Foods.

Meanwhile, we have this update (08.10.2012) to The Continuing Saga of Joe the Steelworker:

Soptic was offered a buyout

For two days we've been led to believe Bain Capital (two years after Mitt Romney officially left the company) destroyed the life of steelworker Joe Soptic by laying him off. No mention of a buyout, no mention of benefit payouts. Bain simply came in and handed workers a pink slip. Turns out, that's not the case. In an interview with Democracy Now, Soptic admits he was offered a buyout by Bain, something he has failed to mention until now.

8/6/12

Kit Carson Hotel Demolition

Kit Carson Hotel Demolition Day 1 gallery is up on the WritingPlaces.com Galleries page, under Events.

Getting the finger from Obama

Here is how the Obamanians are giving the economy a shot in the arm:

 Department of Justice fines Gibson Guitars $300,000

Gibson is accused of violating the Lacey Act. The Lacey Act came about to help target illegal logging, among other things. In other words, if it is illegal to export a certain wood from a foreign country, then it is illegal to import it into the US. You can see where this might help reduce the demand for exotic woods. If the demand is reduced, then it seems that the illegal logging would tend to be reduced.The Lacey Act is not a bad thing at all.

But ... the problem with Gibson is not that they were importing exotic woods from illegal sources, thereby contributing to illegal logging.

Nope.

There is nothing whatsoever wrong with importing ebony from India. The Indian law is not to protect natural resources. You can export ebony from India, and import it into the US ... so long as the work done in finishing the product is done in ... India:

However, the series of federal raids on Gibson factories in 2009 and 2011 were prompted by an issue that went beyond conservation.

The shipments of wood from Madagascar and India were deemed illegal because they were unfinished -- something those countries prohibited. However, finished fingerboards presumably would have been legal. In the Indian case, court documents said one intercepted shipment was "falsely" labeled as finished when it wasn't. 

Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz said last year that the U.S. government essentially went after his company because the work wasn't being done in India.

"The fact that American workers are completing the work in the United States makes it illegal," he said last year.

Wayda go, Mr. President. Meanwhile, how are those anti-gun-smuggling programs workin' for ya?

8/3/12

Picket Wire guided tours


The U.S. Forest Service will offer guided auto tours of Picket Wire Canyonlands south of La Junta on the Comanche National Grassland.

These primitive canyons are home to the largest dinosaur track site in North America and many historic and archaeological features.

Fall tours are scheduled every Saturday beginning this weekend through Oct. 20. Tours run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Due to rough roads, visitors will need their own four-wheel drive vehicle and any supplies such as water and food.

For more information or to make reservations, call 719-384-2181 or visit the USFS website.

8/1/12

Pike National Forest and Pikes Peak

Our visit and gallery link is over on View from the Pizer.